Come (Fantasy) Camping – Part II

This entry was posted by on Friday, 14 June, 2019 at

When the official autograph session was underway, I already had Ilkin and Wolfley done. Unfortunately, I had to get back in line for Dawson, so I took that time to go get some food…and beer. Bud light was the sponsor, so there was all the Bud Light you could drink. Now, not being a fan of that brand, I did find the Bud Light Lime acceptable. Also, they had a buffet of sliders, both hamburger and pulled pork. I grabbed a couple, along with my BLL and waited for the Dawson line to dwindle. Lipps, Moats, Woodruff, Suisham and Hoke had not arrived yet. They would be set up to the right of the stage. Dawson, Ilkin and Wolfley to the left.

I waited in line for Dawson, and he obviously recognized me from before. I had mentioned to him earlier about the poster and he was eager to see it. He signed with his # and HOF 12 in a prominent spot above his likeness. I told him I’m looking forward to learning how to hold and get away with it tomorrow. At this point Lipps and Woodruff arrived. I headed over to that line. Lipps was quiet, more because of his laid back southern-ness. He signed the poster and didn’t say much. Woodruff was next. It was his last year as a starter in 1989, he joked he was glad he was still pictured. I also had the 8×10 and he was more than happy to sign a second item. I showed him the photo and he had not seen it before. As he signed, he said, Damn I look good in that picture! He did, he undercuts the pass in the endzone intended for Andre Reed. You see the results will eventually be the ball is knocked away. Of course, me being me, I checked the photo well before. The photo was in Buffalo. The Steelers only played in Buffalo twice, 86 and 88, while both Reed and Woodruff were active. However, Woodruff did not play the game in 86 due to injury. I checked the boxscore for the 88 game and Woodruff did not have an INT, and Reed didn’t score either.

Chris Hoke finally showed up and I needed my last item for that evening to be signed. 2 years back I bought a #76 gold (defense) practice jersey at training camp. It was unused so it was cheap. It was a size 48 which is close, but really, I need a 50. I tried stretching it, but it always was too tight to wear. So, it becomes memorabilia. Hoke’s eyes lit up when he saw it and asked if it were a gamer.  I said it wasn’t. He still liked it. And signed it for me.

The signing subsided and it was time for Friday Night’s main speaker, Rocky Bleier. He showed off his Superbowl rings and was asked why he wore the SB XIII one. Most people thought it was because of his TD catch in the game, but he said it was because it was the gaudiest.

He went on to say his favorite non teammate was Turkey Jones of the Browns. If not for him breaking Bradshaw’s neck, he would never have had the chance to get a 1,000 rushing season. He also told a story about a game that the Steelers needed to win against Houston. There was less than a minute and Bradshaw got play #5 from Noll on the sideline. Bleier was stuffed. Quickly Bradshaw received play #7 from Noll, a WR sweep to Swann. That was stopped too. With time running out Noll was trying to call in a play and Bradshaw ignored him. The QB dropped back and hit Stallworth in the back of the endzone for the winning TD. After Bradshaw was done celebrating Noll waited for him on the sideline. Noll said that was not the play he was calling, why did you run that play. Bradshaw said, well, they stuffed play 5 and then stopped play 7. So, I added them together and ran play 15. Noll, calmly said, 7 and 5 is 12. Bradshaw responded, well coach, if I was as smart as you, we would have lost the game! Bleier would go on to talk about how the team went out of their way to get him a TD in his last home game at Three Rivers. He kidded around that the version he tells does not quite match up with the easy walk in TD he scored thanks to the O-Line. After going through a couple more stories and a standing ovation, he settled in to sign autographs. People were told one autograph OR a photo. I guess Bleier didn’t care. He signed whatever was put in front of him and took pictures with whoever wanted. He did like the photo I had from SB IX against the Vikings.

A lot of guys were headed to Sharky’s afterwards. A shuttle was provided so people did not have to drive. Some of the ex-players went too. However, I was exhausted at this point and headed back to the dorms.  I arrived and saw my roommate had did too. His stuff was there, he was not. I must have crashed hard because I never heard him come in the room later that night. Good thing, I needed a good night’s sleep for the day ahead.


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